Tagged: Chris Samnee

Chris’ Comics: Black Widow #3

portrait_incredible (9)Black Widow #3

Chris Samnee, Mark Waid, Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

With the excellent Black Widow #3, I recommend anyone who hasn’t read the comic yet to flip directly to the final page. Yes I know that sounds odd,  not to mention super spoilery, but trust me. I’ll wait.

 

RIGHT?!

 

One thing I’ve really enjoyed about this run so far is how minimalist it feels in terms of the amount of dialogue spoken by the character. Writer Mark Waid is a favorite of mine, and he’s usually a dude who fills his books with a plethora of pleasant words. Here on Black 5176762-3+bwidow2016003_int3-2Widow, it feels like Waid has scaled back on dialogue, letting the art of Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson tell the story, which is an incredibly smart creative choice by the team. Half the issue is without dialogue, and it’s all the better for it, as readers get to enjoy Samnee and Wilson’s art without being covered up by words balloons. And it works in Waid’s favor as well, as he makes the dialogue that is spoken feel all the more important.

Issue 3 sees Natasha return to Russia to retrieve data for the dude blackmailing her. While doing so, it revisits parts of her origin, but doesn’t let it bog down the narrative. I love the decision by Waid and Samnee to NOT do an updated origin story in this title so far, assuming the reader knows the deal with Natasha is. Thanks to the Marvel movies, the lot of us know Nat’s deals, so not going down that route is truly appreciated.

In terms of visuals, there’s so much to like about this issue. My personal favorite comes at the close of the second act, where Natashan takes down an enemy in hand to hand combat. In a single page, Samnee draws Natasha’s take down, while referencing her background in BWIDOW2016003-int3-4-36210ballet. Not only is the composure of the page brilliant, but the choreography is beautiful as well, as Matthew Wilson does the lords works on the colors. There’s some really good mixture of purples, blues and blacks on this page, with red being used to focus on 3 key images. The color red plays a huge role in this issue, which makes a sense give the character’s history and iconic hair, and I love how Wilson and Samnee use it in so many ways. Black Widow may only be three issues deep, but man it’s definitely one of the most visually interesting books on the market.

I feel bad that I don’t get to talk about Mark Waid more on this book, but given how Samnee and is credited as both as a writer and an artist, it’s hard to tell exactly what he brings to the table specifically. But the book is excellent, which is a trademark of most of Waid’s work.

Black Widow manages to be way darker than their previous collaboration on Daredevil, but never in a way that feels depressing. It’s a more serious and action heavy read, with zero time for jokes and quips. That being said, the quality of this book is the real reason it’s so enjoyable, and after that brutal cliffhanger,I’m eager for more.

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Black Widow #1

Black_Widow_1_CoverBlack Widow #1

Chris Samnee, Mark Waid, Matthew Wilson, Joe Caramagna

Marvel $3.99

FACT: Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, & Matthew Wilson have done some great work for Marvel, both individually and as together a creative team.

FACT: In my opinion, Marvel has been pretty good at putting out female lead books over the last few years.

FACT: Black Widow, arguably Marvel’s most recognizable female character currently, needed an A list creative team (no offense Phil Noto) assigned to her series ASAP.

Someone at Marvel has agreed with me on that last fact, because the team who did a GREAT job on Daredevil are now on Black Widow. And the debut is, as I quote a friend texted me about the comic, “UGH, such a good!”

Often when a new creative team is assigned a character, the first issue is stripping down of what works for the character and the establishment of a new status quo. Not with Black Widow, as the team assumes that the reader knows what Natasha Romanov’s deal is. This debut issue for the Samnee, Waid, Wilson team is a 20 page chase scene, in which Natasha BW4has taken a thing from SHIELD, and SHIELD wants the thing back.

I love how quickly things escalate in this comic. The book starts off establishing that Widow is at odds with SHIELD, as she takes out a bunch of agents without much effort.  The scene quickly reminds the reader that Natasha is an unbelievable bad ass, from there, she’s fighting dudes twice her size, jumping out of a Hellicarrier, dodging agents in flying cars; all sorts of crazy action stuff. It’s the comics version of Crank, which is compliment by the way.

I like how Waid keeps the dialogue to the minimum, resulting in Samnee’s art carrying the bulk of the story. Chris Samnee is easily one of the BEST artist’s working in comics todays, and which a few changes, this probably could have worked as a wordless story. I’m grateful it’s not, as  Joe Caramagna does some really good sound effects work, and his choices of tumblr_o3jvjoYypd1uiitobo1_1280font give the book a cool pulp magazine vibe to it. And I love what Matt Wilson brings to the book, drowning the book in reds, which could be read (heh) as something symbolic, given who are lead it. And as I’ve stated, Samnee’s work is amazing, be it drawing an 14 panel single page fight scene, the aforementioned Hellicarrier scene which is gorgeous, or a intense motorcycle chase through the streets of Manhattan. This issue is another chapter in the gospel that is “Chris Samnee is real good at comics”.

Black Widow #1 isn’t a comic who wanted an in-depth look instead the mind of Natasha Romanov. It’s a 20 page action move that celebrates the character and re-establishes how great this creative team is. Fans who enjoyed this team’s run on Daredevil will love this comic, and anyone who wanted a new Black Widow series will surely be pleased. I fall in both categories, and am still blown away at how good this comic was. It’s another must read series from Marvel, which I’m glad to see is becoming more of a thing this year.

 

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, only with Comics: Deviants and Devils

sketch1363126429539THIS WEEK IN RANT: I really wish FOX (and to a lesser extent Sony) would stop riding the coattails of Marvel Studios whenever they announced something. I’m sure we’re all excited about that new Guardians of the Galaxy (starring Bert Macklin, Agent of S.P.A.C.E.!) trailer, and man, FOX has no business releasing that Fantastic Four casting announcing (I‘m cool with the new Human Torch BTW, but the rest of that cast? Ehhhh, not so much. Just like the old, also awful, F4 movies! ). Nor did Sony, attempting to get some attention with  revealing the new Harry Osborn Goblin ( Sony’s now 0-2 in the department by the way). At this point, studious need to get on Disney/Marvel’s level , or just the rights go back to them. (Art Source: Dunno, Googled)

BOOKS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THIS WEEK:

Strain the Fall #8

Animal Man #28

Justice League #28

Wonder Woman #28

Fables #138

Bad Ass #2

Undertow #1

Amazing X-Men #4

Marvel Knights Hulk #3

Adventure Time #25

Quantum & Woody #8

 

REVIEWS:

uxm17Uncanny X-men #17

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

DID YOU KNOW: There are 2 snow-themed covered X-men theme books this week! Both are really neat, and house some really awesome comics instead of them , but I only bought Uncanny X-men, so you’re gonna have to deal with me talking about that today. Unnecessary intro over.

What I like about Uncanny’s  penciler/colorist Chris Bachalo is that he’s always evolving as an artist and not afraid to try something new with his art. This issue of UXM has the majority of the pages of the panel drawn diagonal, occasionally bleeding into the accompanying pages. Aside from looking great (thanks to the help of  3 inkers), it helps express the sense of confusion and panic the X-kids are giving off, which makes a ton of sense with the scenario they’re currently facing.

And props for Bendis, Bachalo and company for setting this book in an relativity new environment seldom used in the Marvel Universe. The plot is nothing new for an X-Men book, but new characters in a newish environment makes it really fresh, and for a fun read, especially for those of us who read the previous volume of Uncanny X-men. Bachalo really goes above and beyond with the background colors of this book, helping to hammer across the alien feel and look of the environment.

A fun read with a new mystery introduced and the possibility of a cast member leaving the book for the foreseeable future, Uncanny has really surpassed All New in terms of quality. It’s another done in one that has me really pleased with the direction this book has taken as of late.

3592047-daredevil_36_coverDaredevil #36

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Page six of the final issue of the third volume of Daredevil may be my favorite page of the year. Oh sure we’re only in February, but Chris Samnee gives me things I didn’t know I wanted, and now am a little sad that I probably won’t be getting again anytime soon.

For the most part, this is another great issue of Daredevil. It looks great, has some clever bits in it, wraps up most of the remaining plot lines of volume 3 and sets things up nicely for the 4th volume of Daredevil (with the same creative team, no worries there.). This status quo is really changed for ol’ Hornhead, and if anyone can pull off what’s in store for DD, it’s Waid, Samnee, and Rodriguez.

I do have a problem with how easily everything was wrapped up with Daredevil’s current opponents though. The 5 page fight scene, while looking great, seems a bit rush from a narrative stand point. I would have preferred the book taking a month off if it meant this book had a few extra pages to work with.

That being said, it’s a solid ending to the 3rd volume of this series. Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Javier Rodriguez and a few other creative-type folks have been telling some fantastic stories over the past 2 years, and I’m really excited too see what they’ll be doing come volume 4 (even though it’s going to cost a dollar more to do so).

 

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: A Return to Form

DID YOU KNOW: Apartment hunting in New York City is THE PITS FPNYC Faithful.

My personal problems aside, it was a really good week for comics! Shall I give you the details of the goodness? I think I shall!

UNCX2013016-71482-1-15891-300x461Uncanny X-men #16

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo. Tim Townsend and others

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Several weeks ago, Marvel announced Magneto would be getting his own on-going series in 2014, which means that first volume will be out in time for Days of Future Past. Snark aside, Cullen Bunn was named as the head writer of said series, meaning Brian Michael Bendis and friends would have to write Erik out of Uncanny somehow.

This is the exit issue, and DAMN, it’s a impressive goodbye. An excellent done in one, we get to see Magneto unleashed, lashing his frustrations out on Madipoor, as Bendis resolves a few plot lines while setting up Magneto’s new series. It’s a lot to juggle, but Bendis manages to balance all of the plot lines and the result is arguably the most bad ass Magneto seen in some time.  This is the bar scene from X-Men First Class spread across 20 pages, and the results are glorious.

magneto-1Uncanny is at it’s best when Chris Bachalo is drawing and coloring it, and this issue is no different, if not the best. Bachalo does some really neat things with the classic Magneto wave, even if Mags is look more Walter White than Jack Kirby these days. And his choice for setting scenes with certain colors that dominant each one is a good look. It’s another great issue for this creative team, who seem flawless with these last few stories.

dd35_bgDaredevil #35

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Speaking of flawless, Chris Samnee returns to Daredevil this month, and he’s brought Elektra with him. Elektra is a character I’ve never really cared for when Frank Miller isn’t around, but Samnee draws her with a certain energy and composure that’s so good, it’s hard to not like her. Samnee’s skill doesn’t stop at her though, as there’s an extraordinary display of how Daredevil’s powers work that I’ve attached to show how powerful of a storyteller Samnee is. And with Javier Rodriguez back on colors, this book remains as beautiful as ever.

bsae-1-16-13-11And with this being the next to last issue of Daredevil volume 3,  Mark Waid goes all out with twists, raising the stakes more than ever. There’s also a HUGE shout out to Brian Bendis/Alex Makeev‘s legendary run, that leads to one hell of a cliffhanger. It sets the stage nicely for the upcoming volume 4, which promises a number of changes for Daredevil, all while proving how good this creative team is together.

 

 

 

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_21_TextlessAll New X-men #21

Brian Michael Bendis/Brandon Peterson/Brent Anderson/Israel Silva

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Here’s some irony for you. Last issue I slammed ANX for throwing in a guest artist who’s style really didn’t mesh the lead artist on this issue. Here this happens again, and this time it’s wonderful.

In my defense, and with no disrespect to said artist, it’s Brent Anderson this time around, adding another chapter to the legendary X-story “God loves, Man kills.” that ties directly to the story Bendis is telling. It’s a neat flashblack, and having Anderson draw it only makes it cooler to long term X-men fans.

Brandon Peterson handles the rest of the book, and it looks great. A tad dark, but it takes place in one of those secret remote evil bases so that makes sense. He works well with the action heavy script, and overall did a good job filling in for Stuart Immonen.

All New was nothing special this month, but it’s still a solid comic. The current arc’s purpose was to introduce X-23 onto the team and it did just that, nothing more, nothing less. It was a fun little arc, and….it’s back to crossovers next week. Whelp.

 

 

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: The one where I met Warren Ellis

photo (8)First and foremost, a big thank you to Warren Ellis for coming out to past Friday (as seen here with my friend Sean). It was the first time in FOREVER since he’s had a signing in NYC, and it was super-great to meet one of my favorite writers. I picked up his Avengers OGN too , so expect to see a review on that quite soon, but today shall be dedicated to what dropped this past Wednesday.

 

 

xme14Uncanny X-men #14

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Let’s start off this review by noting that the solicit for this issue has nothing to do with what was actually published. And that’s a great thing because this is by far the best issue of Brian Bendis’ run on Uncanny X-men to date. The plot focuses on Benjamin Deeds, one of the new mutants to pop up post-AvX, and Emma Frost, who decides to take the young male under his wing.

At first this book feels like Bendis and Chris Bachalo riffing on “The Graduate”, but that’s slowly disproven once the pair hit up Atlantic City and hijinks ensue. Bendis is on-point with this issue, as we get a ton of development with young Benjamin, fleshing out one of the newest X-men, in addition to getting to see a side of Emma Frost we haven’t gotten to seen in awhile. Bachalo and his plethora of inkers are great as usual, and the training montage in the beginning of the book looks fantastic. This was a strong month for what’s usually the weaker of the 2 Bendis X-books, and I hope this sort of quality sticks around.

Sex Criminals #3

sexcriminals3-coverMatt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

I always feel a little weird when googling Sex Criminals images….

The third issue of Fraction/Zdarsky’s mature readers only series continues to be a laugh riot from cover to cover, which is exactly what I need from this book. I don’t think there’s another book out there that actually makes me as excited to read both the recap page and the letter column like Sex Criminals does.  That’s not to say the rest of the book is a bore, because that’s not the case at all. Chip and Matt do a fantastic job of telling an all-too human story about sex and dating, despite the crazy time-freezing/sex police plot elements.

Anyone familiar with Fraction’s Casanova series knows that the dude loves music and that sort of passion sometimes bleeds into the narrative. It happens twice in this issue of Sex Criminals, the 2nd time leading to the comics musical number of the year. It’s hilarious and even a little bit sexy thanks to Zdarsky’s amazing art.

I’d probably go as far as to claim Sex Criminals is probably the most emotional comic not called Saga being published these days. This is the comic perfect for 2013, combining indie comic style with mainstream presentation and hype. It’s also probably my favorite book being published thanks to this amazing 3rd issue, so there’s that.

Daredevil  #33

 

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Jason Copland

 

$2.99, Marvel, 20 pages

 

Daredevil_33_CoverDaredevil has been going strong for awhile, so when something slips up, it hits twice as hard. Jason Copland, who’s not a bad artist, is certainly not on the same level as Chris Samnee, the guy he’s filling in for, and it certainly shows in this issue. The art doesn’t feel as polished as his work on “Kill All Monsters”, feeling rough and unfinished in some parts. To be fair, it may not be all on Copland, and there could be editorial things factoring in here.

That being said, Mark Waid still continues to be the modern legend we all know him as. The book’s script is fine, and it raises a question or two about the mental state of this post-Shadowland Daredevil, which has been an on and off again subplot ever since Waid relaunched the series.

Again, this isn’t a bad issue, but I’ve been spoiled by the bar Waid, Samnee and Javier Rodriguez have set. So unless you’re a Mike Allred level talent filling in, I’m bound to be disappointed when that level isn’t met.

Longshot_Saves_the_Marvel_Universe_Vol_1_2_TextlessLongshot Saves the Marvel Universe

Christopher Hastings/Jacopo Caramagna

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Really wish I knew what was up with my borders getting all messed up with this article.

The 2nd issue of Longshot’s mini, raises the stakes a bit, and it way more action packed than issue 1. Hastings being good at writing cool action pieces is no surprise, given what’s happened over the years with Doctor McNinja, and the book continues to deliver with the trademark over the top humor he’s know for. Caramamagna’s visuals are a treat too, as his art continues to be very fluid, and animated. It’s great to see a self-contained, light-hearted mini series not tied into major events coming out from Marvel, something that’s becoming rarer and rarer over the years.   It’s definitely worth reading if you want a fun read without having to know every bit of detail of a character.

 

 

Post to Twitter

Here I have bought some comics. A lot of comics actually.

All heat, no jokes, once again y’all!

Wolverine_and_the_X-Men_Vol_1_37Wolverine and the X-men #37

Jason Aaron/ Giuseppe Camuncoli/ Andrew Currie

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Chapter 9 of the Battle of Atom crossover is such a pain to review on some level. On the script end of things, it’s a fine book, as Aaron delivers on several fronts. If I was discussing this book on the quality of it’s script alone, I’d say it was fantastic. But visually this art in this issue isn’t very good. The book credits Camuncoli as the penciller, and Currie as the finisher. What that means exactly, I don’t know, but it results in some less than great visuals when all is said and done. The art seems very rushed, which is unfortunate, because this event has been fantastic so far in that department, and it seem odd that Camuncoli, a veteran of the 2x a month shipping Spider-books, couldn’t deliver. Because man, this is an ugly book  and it rarely, if ever, matches the standard of Aaron’s script. Hopefully this is more of a mistep than an indication of what the final chapter will be like, because it would suck and blow if the final chapter of this event was as poorly drawn as this one was.

sex-criminals

Sex Criminals #2

Matt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

When the first issue of #SEXCRIMINALS dropped, I thought it was a very good issue, but it was not at all what I expecting given the contents of the creator’s tweets. It was great, but more 16 Candles than the 40 Year Old Virgin, which I did not see coming. Issue #2 is probably the funniest and vulgar comic I’ve read in years, starting from a page to page recap on the first page to a very candid and HILARIOUS letter page, ending with a picture of Fraction getting a nipple pierce in Toronto sex club. This book is not afraid to be an adult comic, and it’s all the better for it. Fraction writes 2 very human leads with a strange and funny power and Chip Zdarsky’s visual gags are gut-busting. His day job as a Canadian magazine/newspaper (I forget) cartoonish is on full display here, and the product is better for it. This was easily the best book I read this week, and I can’t recommend Sex Criminals enough if you’re A) 17 or older B) Not easily offended C) A little bit of a pervert.

comics-velvet-1Velvet #1

Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

Before I discuss my problem with Velvet, let start by saying how GREAT this book looks. Steve Epting’s, with Elizabeth Breitweiser on colors, art is some next level stuff, as Velvet is easily one of the best looking comics in an already strong stable of artists over at Image. That being said, the Brubaker-snob in me feels this script is VERY by the books, especially after reading his other excellent creator owned series Fatale, and his modern-classic run on Captain America. While it’s an original concept, it feels a bit like an unused Black Widow script at times.  Of course your enjoyment may vary, because you may not be a Bru-snob like myself. And it’s by no means a bad comic. I’m just a little let down is all, and maybe a  little spoiled by Fatale. It’s definitely work a look if you’re a Brubaker/espionage fan though, even with a ton of great Image books already flooding the market.

dd32_bgDaredevil #32

Mark Waid/ Chris Samnee

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Speaking of books that are hard to review, here’s Daredevil. Is Mark Waid one of the best writer still working in the industry? Yup. Is Chris Samnee somehow doing new things with his art, reaching Bruce Timm’s level of quality in some panels/pages. Hell, even the sound effects are used cleverly (not sure if that’s Samnee or VC’s Joe Carmagna) and are super fun. Again, this is brief, but that’s because this book remains flawless. Unless you hate great comics, y’all need to be reading Daredevil. I’m tired of trying to come up with new ways of trying to say how great this book is.

4pd1logoPretty Deadly #1

Kelly Sue Deconnick/ Emma Rios

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

As anyone whose read this column before can tell you, I’ve never had a problem admitting the fact that I’m a HUGE fan of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s writing. AND DAMN, KSD’s creator owned book’s debut comes out swinging, with Emma Rios’ best work to date, making this book a visual tour-de-force. A fantasy-western with a female lead, Pretty Deadly’s debut may not exactly be the most straightforward read, but it’s the one of the best look books to debut this year. Rios’ work is both dynamic and trippy, and it’s fun just to stare at her panel work and layouts in this book without reading any dialogue. Her character designs are pretty great, and it’s a shame that we don’t see our lead until the final page of this issue, because Ginny’s possibly the coolest new character of 2013 I.M.O, at least on a visual level.

KSD’s script is sharp, even if it’s a little abstract at time. Her work here is VERY different from her Captain Marvel scripts, aside from the fact that both books have some kick ass female leads. But it’s still fantastic, making Pretty Deadly a must read, especially with Jordie Bellaire’s colors completely the package, making this one of the best looking takes on the wild west in some time. In a white-male heavy industry, books like Pretty Deadly are rare , but definitely needed and welcomed. Arguably one of most important launches of the fall, and it delivers. Buy on sight, assuming it’s still in stock.

Tune in next time for…THE END OF BATTLE OF ATOM! SAGA! AND BECAUSE WE ALL DEMANDED IT, THE RETURN OF NEIL GAIMAN’S SANDMAN!

Post to Twitter

I went to Europe, but then I came home to read some comics

The European comic shop scene is weird to me you guys. Between London, Halifax and Paris, I saw no less than a dozen comics shops, some of them named Forbidden Planet even, but man, it’s weird seeing the books I pull be considered imports. It’s also worth noting those shops were kinda fantastic, as there were things in them I was wiling to drop insane amounts of cash on. Also man the dollar sucks in the global sense, which is why I didn’t drop crazyyyyyy money. But if you’re ever in Europe, I encourage y’all to take some times to look at some of the local shops, ESPECIALLY in Paris.

X-Men005portrait_incredible (1)So yeah remember when I said I was going to take a break from the X-books and wait for the oversized hardcover  that was dropping in December? J/K, I BOUGHT CHAPTERS 3 AND 4 BECAUSE I AM WEAK! Zero regrets about that mind you (YOLO), because this event is crazy fun and serves as testament on how strong the X-line is these days. Brian Wood and David Lopez absolutely kill on their chapter (X-men #5, Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages) which should be a suprise to no one. The two had a great run on the X-men last year, and it’s great to see them work their magic once again on Marvel’s mutants. Lopez especially, who’s John Cassadyesque, only with better faces. And Woods, not unlike Bendis, is fantastic at injecting humor throughout the soap opera that is the X-men. As for Uncanny X-men #12 (Chapter 12, also $3.99 and 20 pages), Chris Bachalo and like 4 inkers (Really?!?) rejoin Bendis for a tale that had me drop at least 5 very  audible profanities as I read it. The last 6 pages of this book are insane, and are setting some some great stuff for Chapter 5. Despite my intial concerns about this book, Battle of Atom has pleased me on every level, and I cannot stress how awesome this X-event has been so far. THIS is how events should be done.

Daredevil_Vol_3_31_TextlessMark Waid and Chris Samnee are really doing their best to trying to get me to come up with new ways to praise Daredevil. This current arc, a take on the Trayvon Martin case, covers a LOT in 20 pages, making it a stral for $3. Also everytime Mark Waid writes Hank Pym is a treat, and adding him to DD’s supporting cast was a genius move. And Chris Samnee remains one of the best artists working in the industry today. Don’t let the cover fool you, there’s a lot more going in the pages of Daredevil 31 then it implies (the promised deathtraps are missed though) and you’re a fool if you’re not reading this book. Yes I’ll resort to name calling to get people to buy this title, I am not above doing as such.

tumblr_mo1jxvJbSe1rwk3plo1_500

Captain Marvel #16 ($2.99, 20 pages, Marvel) had a very fun cover, but it’s an uneven read. Which is unfortunate, as the book has been very hit or miss as of late. I’m not reading Infinity,and this book is VERY much tied into the event of this mini, so there’s a lot that I just didn’t get. A shame, because there’s some great talent giving KSD a hand with this issue in the form of  Jen Van Meter and Patrick Olliffe. And there’s a lot of strong bits spread through out the issue, as the writers have a great handle on the Avengers featured in this book. But again, if you’re not reading Infinity you’re gonna be lost. At least the 5 months of crossovers comes to an end next issue..before the book takes a small break before the rumor relaunched during ALL NEW MARVEL NOW, or whatever it’s call. Either way, this was probably the worst issue to drop in an otherwise fun run, and hopefully the break will do KSD and Captain Marvel some good.

And with that I’m caught up with my single issues. However, I did read some trades, some manga and there’s a bunch of great books coming out this upcoming week. So I’ll be back real quick (maybe).

Post to Twitter

I have bought some comics, and man, Chris Samnee is really good at drawing

I’m not sure about all of you guys, but I’m the type of comics enthusiast who’s active on twitter. And not in the sense where I spew e-hate at Ben Affleck for signing on to play Batman (although I did retweet about a dozen or so jokes of various degrees of hilarity.) I prefer using twitter to give props to my favorite creators, because that is the type of thing you should be doing on twitter. Example: Daredevil #30 dropped this week (Marvel Comics, $2.99, 20 pages). Chris Samnee, Eisner winner for 2 years in a row, returned to the book after  a 2 issue leave and MAN, he absolutely killed it on this issue. I went on twitter immediately to praise Samnee and he was cool enough to say thanks by the way. But yeah, issue #30 is great. As you can tell by the fantastic cover, the Silver Surfer is in town, and Samnee proceeds to draw the hell out of him, DD and this issue. There’s a double spread that screams poster/print/desktop background. It’s great stuff. Mark Waid isn’t exactly a slouch either, building off of the cliff hanger from the last issue to make DD’s life more problematic and delivering another fantastic story with Chris. Javier Rodriguez‘s color also make this book pop, and I doubt Samnee’s art would look as good as it does with another colorist. A done in one done right, Daredevil #30 is another fantastic issue in a run that can do no wrong.

My other Marvel pull for this week is Avengers Assemble #18 (Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages), an issue where a Kelly Sue Deconnick script got a much needed shot in the visuals department thanks to veteran artists Barry Kitson.  Kitson is a huge improvement over some of the artists we’ve seen as of late on the book, and I really hope he sticks around. The issue is the 1st of a 2 part Infinity tie-in, and it’s definitely a solid read, and the type of tie-in you can appreciate without reading (or understanding) the core mini. The book returns to it’s Spider-Woman heavy focus, exploring Jessica’s mind set post event in Hawkeye and the recently concluded Enemy Within crossover. Deconnick has a great handle on J-Drew; she’s a heavily flawed character, but still very down to earth and fun to read. While a few bits of the issue could have done with a little more continuity explanation, and Kitson manages to draw Thor’s costume a few different ways throughout the script, AA #18 is still a fun read.

And finally, here’s my look at the third volume of Fatale (Image Comics, $14.99, 128 pages). Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip’s excellent noir meets Lovercraft series was a monthly pull of mine, but I decided to go with trade waiting with the 3rd volume, as it’s a series of one shots that I feel read better collected, even sans the cool articles only available in single issues. This done in ones take place before the first 10 issues of the series, telling stories of the mysterious Jo and expanding the series lore a ton. Phillips and Bru are at their finest, and it’s cool to see them tackle settings that they usually don’t  deal with. This is a great intro for new reader, and it explains a ton of things for older readers. Fatale’s buzz has died out a bit thanks to the constant barrage of new series launching at Image, not to mention the hype associated with Saga and the Walking Dead, but it deserves to be read in some format. It has a fantastic premise, and a great execution, and is arguably one of the best books Image is publishing today!

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 14: Pursued By The Empire’s Sinister Agents!

Hey lucky readers, I am back from the great state of Seattle in time to phone it in from my apartment. And what a phoning it in this will be. Last week’s column was brutal because I was jetlagged, sleep deprived, and over-comic’d (It’s a real thing. Look it up. Happened to millions of people in the mid-90’s.) This weeks column will be brutal because I am not a great writer and have been coasting on my mediocre sense of humor far too long. One important thing of note; dozens of readers wrote to ask why I didn’t mention Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/Razor Enthusiast, Tyler, last week. Sally from Barrie, Ontario asked if it was because I was in Seattle and he was “Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s a good guess Sally, but no. When I travel I always carry a picture of Tyler in a heart shaped locket I wear around my neck at all times. He is never out of sight or mind. Tragically the reason I didn’t mention Tyler is much more dark and sinister. Tyler is on a journey now and I don’t think I have the strength to save him. Poor Tyler. Anyway folks, let’s find out what is happening in comics, shall we?

http://www.fpusadailyplanet.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Maximum-Ghosts-Matt-D-Edition-1.jpg

Managed to get an advanced copy of FIVE GHOSTS last week. Issue #1 makes it an easy frontrunner for book of the year. Chris Mooneyham’s art is stunning, Franke Barbiere’s writing never misses a beat. This is a full tilt pulp adventure like comics hasn’t seen in a long time. Think Indiana Jones meets League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I almost guarantee this book will be a huge hit and fan favorite for the year, the buzz is crazy and the book surpasses it. Unfortunately for you all the book isn’t out this week but fortunately for you all it comes out very soon. Not just that but Forbidden Planet is hosting a signing for the book on IMAGE COMICS PREMIERE NIGHT, Wednesday, March 20th. Bob Fingerman will also be there signing his brilliant new collection, MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE. And there will be awesome special guests. And maybe a cake or something. Probably not. But great comics should make it worth your time. Mark your calenders and set aside some dollars. Not all of them though because you need to buy some books this week too.

BUDDY COPS #1 is actually out this week. Doc Shaner may be the next superstar artist in comics. He has a smart take on the updated retro style of current superstars like David Aja and Chris Samnee. In short, he draws really pretty. Nate Cosby used to edit for Marvel where he focused on the good but under loved all ages books. He has since moved on to doing fun books like Cow Boy and Pigs. Buddy Cops is like Axe Cop if you want to read absurd cops stories but instead of being written by children it is written by childish men. There is a character named Uranus. Either you find that funny or you should buy something else. I like Uranus.

BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL vol 26. My bet is that most of you don’t read manga. That’s cool. I was dumb once too. Here’s the thing, don’t dismiss the cultural output of an entire nation, especially when the nation loves comics as much as Japan does. And especially especially when they make such good comics. Blade Of The Immortal is one of the craziest and most badass things humans have ever made. A shamed samurai cursed with immortality must kill 1,000 evil men in order to be allowed to age and die. Awesome, right? Well volume 26 is probably not the one I would start with, but that’s the one that’s out this week. Go read volume 1 and see if you like it. If you like reading about dudes getting dismembered, bloodworms, and really detailed portraits of feudal Japan as much as I do then you should love it. Come for the bloodworms, stay for the guilt.

Mike Mignola and John Arcudi make awesome comics like Hellboy, BPRD, and Lobster Johnson. (Fun Fact: John Arcudi used to work at Forbidden Planet. The store probably still owes him like 2000 hours of overtime from like 25 years ago. Good luck getting that John, we’re pulling for ya.) Every book Mignola and Arcudi have worked on has been, at worst, well worth your time. When these guys are off they are still better than 99% of the field. (Fun Fact: I met Mike Mignola recently and acted like a big idiot. He was pretty cool though. Firm handshake.) Now they have teamed up with the great Jason Latour to introduce SLEDGEHAMMER 44. A man in a giant metal suits who fights nazis. That’s pretty much all you should need to know. (Fun Fact: umm… I don’t have any fun Jason Latour facts. umm… Latour is French for “The Tour.” Useful info.)

I feel like a moron telling you to read HAWKEYE Vol. 1: MY LIFE AS A WEAPON. It’s one of the best books Marvel has done in years. Beautiful, funny, exciting, and innovative. It is David Aja and Matt Fraction doing the work of their respective careers. HAWKEYE is a line in the sand. You can either buy it or be the reason we don’t get to have nice things.

I remember reading Ben Katchor‘s brilliant JULIUS KNIPL strips that ran in The New York Press in the early ’90s I think. I bet you thought I was much younger than that, huh? I just write with childlike whimsy and grammar. Always bizarre, his oddly compelling characters made it less of a favorite read and more of a compulsion. Mr. Katchor always puts forward interesting and thought provoking work. HAND-DRYING IN AMERICA is his latest, a meditation on place, property, and possessions. His insights and wit offset the pervasive feeling of wrongness that he illuminates so eerily well. This is a book for those who notice they feel out of place or out of touch with their world.

Maybe the best book you aren’t reading this year is THE END TIMES OF BRAM & BEN by Rem Broo, Jim Festante, and James Asmus. The perfect mix of Chew‘s dark humor and Preacher‘s tongue in cheek religious and cultural satire, TETOB&B is both clever social commentary and laugh out loud absurdity. TETOB&B #3 comes out this week (with a brilliant cover by Juan Doe), but you should be able to track down issues 1 & 2 pretty easily. Image puts out a lot of new books every months, but few have the heart and personality of this one.

That about does it for me. I’m going to go listen to Lungfish and read BULLETPROOF COFFIN until I pass out. Make sure to come to the FP/IMAGE party next Wednesday and wear something nice. Maybe bring cupcakes. I am sure we will forget.

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 13: To Destroy An Entire Planet!

I am in Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con as I write this. ECCC is the beginning of the 9 months the comics industry affectionately refers to as “Con Season.” 9 month seasons. Not so bright. Comics Industry- ok at making comics, less ok at everything else. Anyway, I flew in on the Forbidden Planet jet on Thursday night. Not the nicest private jet I have ever been on but that’s alright. I was just happy the doors closed all the way and the heat worked.

So after 4 days of intensive comics immersion in the form of announcements, chatting, gossip, snooping, and spying, what have I found out for you all? Comics people really like donuts and beer. I tried to find out other stuff but that’s all anyone really talks about. There was some cool stuff though. I saw a guy cosplay as Leeloo Multipass and that made me question my sexuality and vomit in my mouth at the same time. I saw a a bar fight where one man choked another man for 2 minutes and then both walked away like nothing happened. James Robinson called me Patrick for no discernible reason. I found out if you put Adventure Time on stuff you can probably take Scrooge McDuck style money baths. Someone who clearly doesn’t have parents or friends thought it was a good idea to cosplay as Geordi LaForge in blackface. I guess maybe some of the comic writers and artists are doing new books or redoing old books or something. I wasn’t paying attention to that. I am pretty sure there are comics planned through at least June of this year. After that, who knows?

But let’s talk about this week. Since I’ve been around a ton of comics all weekend and I’ve decided I really like ’em I am going to TRY SOMETHING NEW. In an attempt to trick you into buying more stuff and save me the effort of thinking up more jokes, we are going to do this rapid fire style. I am going to call out some books than usual that are good, write a sentence or two, and you are going to buy them. Simple and elegant. GO!

REPTILE MUSEUM #1 & #2. Only issue #2 of Reptile Museum just came out, but consulting my trusty comput-o-tron tells me that it is statistically impossible that you read issue #1 so I will review both right now. Published by Ray Ray Books which, for all I know, is either a dude in his parents basement or a division of Newscorp, Reptile Museum is what we call an indie, mini, or self-published comic. This is annoying because technically everything but Marvel and DC are “indie” so that word is meaningless. Sometimes minis are huge so that word is meaningless. And like I said before, I have no idea if Cody Pickrodt published this or Rupert Murdoch, so self-published is a difficult label to use. Either way, Reptile Museum is great. A clever post apocalyptic story that answers questions and creates them at an equal rate. Two issues in and I have no real grasp of the world at all and I love that. A unique dystopian tale, Reptile Museum spends much more time on it’s characters than it does explaining it’s world. We follow as a character reenters the folds of a mysterious organization and shows himself to be a true badass. That’s really it. But it’s great. This is a huge story scaled down and made small and personal. Mysterious and exciting, this book is well worth your support. Buy it now because you may not easily get another chance.

ALL-STAR WESTERN vol.2- WAR OF LORDS AND OWLS. DC’s most consistently great book is All-Star Western. Jonah Hex is a brilliant character, Palmiotti & Gray handle him in a way that makes it almost impossible not to love and loathe him. Someone at editorial decided to make a book that takes place in the 1880’s cross over with Batman and it isn’t horrible and stupid, it’s actually quite fun. The art is great. It’s one of 3 westerns on store shelves. Go buy it.

SLEEPER Omnibus. Ed Brubaker does superhero crime noir comics. A deep cover superhero begins to lose his identity. Do you like stuff like The Departed, Infernal Affairs, or Donnie Brasco? Well this is better. $75 gets you 2 volumes of Sleeper, the Point Blank prequel, and a ton of bonus stuff. There isn’t much more that I can say other than fans of crime, superhero, great writing, or beautiful art must own these books.

Grant Morrison writes 50% crazy nonsense that is almost impenetrable. Then he writes 50% next level brilliance that is untouchable, fun and smart. Sean Murphy is one of the best artists in comics today. They teemed up on JOE THE BARBARIAN to tell the story of a little boy getting lost in his own fantastical mind. It is the best thing either of them has done in many years. These are the best guys in the business doing their best work. Buy the paperback version out this week and lock yourself in a room so you can read though it a few times.

I don’t care about the Rocketeer. Jennifer Connelly isn’t in the comics so 12 year old me doesn’t make adult me buy them. But then Mark Waid goes and does his thing of taking old things, getting rid of the excess, and making them fun again. Then Chris Samnee comes in and does his thing of making comics that are so pretty they make everything else seem like ugly, busy, squiggles. Both men make ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM a must own book for fans of pulp stuff or inventive ways to make action heroes feel fresh and familiar at the same time.

I just want to run the copy for LOST VEGAS #1 because either they have my sense of humor exactly and the notes to the editor are brilliantly funny OR someone really didn’t do their job. Either way Jim McCann and Janet Lee made RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN which is probably the most brilliant kids book in recent memory. Lost Vegas isn’t a kids book but it looks like it might be as brilliant. So, without further ado, the weird solicitation text for LOST VEGAS #1- The EISNER AWARD-WINNING team of JIM McCANN?& JANET LEE reunite to create a universe filled with intrigue as one gambler-turned-slave has 24 hours to go all in and pull off the greatest heist the universe has seen. (in this next section, can it be like a brochure, like a different font? If not, italics is cool) WELCOME TO LOST VEGAS! Aboard this luxurious casino-filled traveling space-station you will find the highest stakes games from every corner of every planet, unheard-of winnings, and the greatest attractions anywhere!* (Can the below section be a smaller font size?)*the fine print- those who bet it all and lose must work it off as indentured servants to the casino. Escape is not possible. No one is exempt from these rules.

Joe Casey is a great writer. He can do almost anything with style, heart, and humor. None of that matters because his new Image series is called SEX. He wins. SEX #1 is on shelves now. Buying any other comic instead of SEX makes you look stupid.

Cullen Bunn may be getting famous for his work over at Marvel but if there were any justice in the world he would already have been famous for his brilliant western series SIXTH GUN. He returns with a new series called HELHEIM launching this week. Vikings, the undead, gods, and monsters come together in what may be the most fun book of the year. I was lucky enough to see Joëlle Jones art for HELHEIM #1 this weekend and it is quite clear that Ms. Jones has just launched herself into the top tier of comic artists working today. With an art style that falls somewhere between Luther Strode‘s Tradd Moore and B.P.R.D.’s Tyler Crook but feels completely fresh at the same time, this book is painfully beautiful, which is what you want when you are dealing with swordsfights and beheadings.

I seem to do it every week so here I go to do it again. ARCHER & ARMSTRONG Vol 1 MICHAELANGELO CODE is out now. The Valiant relaunch books are great. Archer & Armstrong is buddy cop stuff done pitch perfect. A “struggling with his faith” teenager and a perpetual screw-up immortal are forced to work together to save the world from a problem that is both somewhat their doing. This isn’t life changing stuff, but it is the kind of comic you might fall in love with. This is super hero stuff that feels fresh. This trade is $9.99. If you read superhero books and someone as smart as me tells you that some of the best new ones are only $9.99 for volume #1 you really should buy it. Valiant are leaving cash on the table in order to offer books like this at “TRY ME!” prices. They believe in their books that much, and that should be enough for you.

OK, I wrote the last 2 paragraphs while snoring. I am going to go to sleep and regret not cosplaying as Spoonman or Niles Crane.

Post to Twitter

Short packed: American Avengers, non-moving parts and 2 packs

By Chris Troy

Happy 4th of July FPNYC faithful. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be drunk by 2, bbqing and watching Battlestar Galatica on Netflix. Maybe some fireworks. I dunno, Battlestar is really good and fireworks may require me to leave my apartment. Either way, with less than 20 days until Marvel Studios’ “Captain America“, today’s the best day to do your patriotic Nerd duty and swing by the store or the website and pick up some Cap swag. We have a huge selection of comics, shirt, toys and other Cap-based merch in stock, so finding something relevant to your all-American interests won’t be too hard! Also keep your eyes out for the upcoming “Captain America” #1 by Ed Brubaker and Steve McNiven, continuing Ed’s fantastic run on Cap’s book. The current Cap series is getting a new co-writer Marc Andreyko with pencils by the underrated and awesome Chris Samnee. Both books are definitely worth the money, but I have to admit I’m more excited for the Bru/Andreyko/Samee book for the insane amount of talent attached to the title. Continue reading

Post to Twitter